China hints U.S. blacklist imminent, creates new obstacle to trade talks

Nellie Chapman
December 4, 2019

Resource-rich and strategically located on the borders of Central Asia, Xinjiang is key to China's growing energy needs. "China has so far been restrained, but that doesn't mean that Beijing will not when necessary fight back hard against America's increasingly worse provocations", it said.

The legislation specifically names Chen Quanguo, the Communist party secretary of Xinjiang since 2016 following a five-year stint in Tibet, whose appointment marked the beginning of the sweeping security clampdown.

China has consistently denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and says the camps are providing vocational training.

Washington had already angered Beijing when President Donald Trump signed legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting China earlier this week to impose sanctions on US-based NGOs and suspend future visits by United States warships to the semi-autonomous territory.

In response to the new legislation, China may consider imposing visa restrictions on US lawmakers and ban all USA passport holders from entering Xinjiang, according to the editor-in-chief of the Communist Party-backed Global Times.

Hu said in a tweet that China is also considering visa restrictions against US officials and lawmakers with "odious performance" on the Xinjiang issue, in retaliation to legislation being prepared by the US Congress.

China responded on Monday to the Hong Kong legislation by saying U.S. military ships and aircraft would not be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and announced sanctions against several USA non-government organisations.

The move comes one week after Mr Trump signed overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation aimed at supporting the pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong who taken to the streets in recent months.

"We can not be silent".

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The US House of Representatives is due to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi called China's treatment of the Uighurs "an outrage to the collective conscience of the world".

Chris Johnson, a China expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said passage of the bill could lead to a further blurring of lines between the trade issue and the broader deteriorating China-US relationship, which Beijing in the past has tended to keep separate.

Thomas Massie, the sole member of Congress to vote against both the Hong Kong and Uighur bills, said he did so because he considered the issues to be Chinese domestic affairs.

Johnson said he did not think passage of the Uighur act would cause the delay, but added: "It would be another dousing of kindling with fuel".

The president would be required to impose visa and financial restrictions under the Global Magnitsky Act on the listed individuals.

In late August 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reported that large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were being detained in political "re-education camps" in Xinjiang, often for long periods without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.

The House bill would require the State Department to produce a report within one year on the crackdown in Xinjiang. The bill would also impose restrictions on the export of technology that enables China to pursue its detention policies in Xinjiang.

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